Parkour is one of the most well known activities around but surprisingly the history is surrounded in mystery, with no clear time or place where it began. Generally speaking the agreement was that it began in France with a few bold Frenchmen starting the trend in the urban centre of Paris. From there it’s spread around the world and taken the international scene by storm.
Parkour itself is a difficult thing to define. It incorporates elements of various different disciplines and brings them together in unique harmony. When Raymond Belle first practiced the sport it was as part of combat training which, given the movement and actions, makes a lot of sense. But parkour is a lot more than that and it involves gymnastics, martial arts and other athletic or sports like abilities.
While parkour grew and evolved it started to develop a following and more of a meaning. Freedom, creativity and style all become a core part of parkour and on the back of this it grew. In the early 21st century videos of parkour practitioners, traceurs, went viral. Social media piqued everyone’s interest and allowed traceurs to grow and influence more people.
Nowadays parkour is well known and hugely popular and more people are getting involved year on year. It’s a discipline that takes years of training to be able to do well so the question has become; where do I start? This is where some of our must read parkour books come in.
Reading Parkour Books
Parkour is viewed as an active, outdoor and creative sport, something you do not associate with books or reading. However if you make this assumption you’re going to miss out on a wealth of knowledge that will do you more good than training.
Just like with other sports or activities there is a lot of value in reading and learning from other people’s successes. Parkour has an even more interesting angle because it is relatively new but constantly adapting. There are a range of different techniques, beliefs and types of parkour and traceurs focus on different aspects.
It can definitely be difficult to know where to start with the mammoth task of learning parkour however thankfully there are now a range of books from some of the best in the business which can give you top tips to hit the ground running. Let’s take you through our top 5 must read parkour books.
5 Must Read Parkour Books
Parkour is a lot more complicated than you might think, with different philosophies alongside different training techniques. In our search we’ve come across books which cover all the angles of parkour so whether you’re a complete newbie, or already well established, it’s definitely worth picking yourself up some of these must read books.
The first on our list for must read parkour books is Parkour Strength Training. This has been written by two very successful traceurs with a long history in parkour, Ryan Ford and Ben Musholt. Ryan Ford is well known in the parkour world and is involved with a chain of specialised parkour gyms. Ben Musholt is another well established traceur but combines this with a background in physiotherapy. Their extensive experience comes through in the pages.
This book, as the title suggests, is all about building the strength to succeed in parkour. The goal of parkour is to get from A to B, but actually this book won’t teach you any parkour moves. Instead this book provides you with training routines and strength development techniques that get you ready to get out there.
The book makes a number of links to other training methods, seeing the similarities across the board for gymnastics training. It will help you understand the important parts of your body for parkour and encourage you to develop a routine for a full range of movement.
This book is absolutely perfect for anyone just beginning their parkour journey looking to gain the necessary strength. It’s ideal for preparing your mind and body for the challenges of parkour and setting up the right training routine. With glowing reviews from readers it’s definitely one of the must read parkour books.
Julie Angel’s book approached parkour from a whole new angle. Instead of looking just at the practical, breaking the jump gives us insight into the history of parkour looking at the humble beginnings and initial challenges that were overcome.
Breaking the Jump is a coming of age story based around parkour that looks at the wider implications that might not have been considered before. It’s a story that teaches some memorable lessons that coaches around the world have incorporated into their training.
Julie Angel is herself a movement coach and has used the history covered in her book to pass on some of the wisdom earned by traceurs over time. It’s great for anyone just starting out or anyone who has experience to learn about the philosophy of what parkour is all about. This will in turn help inspire your performance and training.
Written by Dan Edwarde, The Parkour and Freerunning Handbook is known as one of the essential books when it comes to parkour. Dan Edwarde himself is a heavyweight in the industry and co founder of Parkour Generations, a whole training academy for parkour. He’s more experienced than most and has put so much useful information into this handbook.
This book combines both the physical side of parkour with the mental aspect. He tackles some of the concepts underpinning parkour which give insight into why it exists and how to get the most from it. At the same time he introduces the core elements of the physical side regarding balance, strength and positioning.
This handbook is maybe the most useful of our top 5 must read parkour books because of the incredible amount of directly useful information within it. Whatever stage you’re at, if you practice parkour then this book will be of great value to you.
The Parkour Roadmap is perhaps the most detailed and comprehensive book on the list. It’s written by a long time parkour trainer Max Henry who has won several parkour competitions in his time, there’s certainly no questioning his credentials.
After introducing the history and culture of parkour, this book goes on to give insights into the parkour way of life. It gives instruction on training and working a parkour regime into everyday life. Finally it explores some of the more advanced techniques not covered elsewhere.
Parkour Roadmap also gives insight into how you can fit in with the parkour community. By helping you find like minded people and specialised parkour gyms you can become part of something greater, and that’s why Parkour Roadmap is a must read.
This last book is slightly different from the others but still incredibly relevant to parkour. Overcoming Gravity is all about strength training and creating a regiment that will allow your body to become stronger quickly and effectively.
Stephen Low, the author, has a long history of strength training and certainly knows what he’s talking about. He’s used his experience to create a manual for others to follow, perhaps learning from his mistakes.
This is more of a practical book with information relating to injury management, promoting healthy lifestyle, training your body and getting ready for strain. Overcoming Gravity has a strong focus on the science behind these aspects and is very comprehensive in it’s content and recommendations.
This is certainly one of the more versatile books but still definitely one of the top 5 must read parkour books.
Learning Parkour Through Books
Reading really is the base of all knowledge and a fantastic place to start with any new discipline. All of our 5 must read parkour books offer something of real value to anyone interested in parkour but in combination they provide a well rounded overview of what parkour is and how to do it effectively. So whether you’re just starting out or you’re already out there training; these are definitely books to look out for.